8 Project Performance Domains in PMBOK 7th edition

2023-10-19 09-57-19

In the 7th edition of the Project Management Guide (PMBOK®), a project performance domain is described as a bunch of tasks that are super important to make a project successful.

These domains are key steps that help projects succeed. They’ve taken the place of the 10 Project Management Knowledge Areas found in the older 6th edition.

These domains aren’t strict rules but are there to help guide how you act and work on a project, aiming for the best results.

So, if you’re preparing for the PMP certification exam or working on a project, these domains point out what really matters for success.


The 8 Project Performance domains.

They are:

  • Stakeholders
  • Team
  • Development approach and Life cycle
  • Planning
  • Project work
  • Delivery
  • Performance
  • Uncertainty and ambiguity


The performance domains are like pieces of a puzzle that work together. Each piece relies on the others to complete a project successfully.

No matter how a project delivers value – be it often, sometimes, or just at the end – these domains are always involved. Every project has its unique way of connecting these domains.

The way they come together depends on things like the company’s style, the project itself, the team, and where the project is happening. It’s essential to know that no domain is more important than another; they’re all equally valuable.



Stakeholders play a big role in this performance area. The success of your project often depends on them. In simpler words, they’re a key part of project management. This section is all about making sure everyone gets along and understands each other’s needs and views.

By interacting well with stakeholders, your project has a better chance of success. You should have plans and actions to get stakeholders involved in making decisions and helping with the project.


This area is all about the team and what they do to achieve the project’s goals.

It looks at everything related to the team, like sorting out disagreements, helping the team grow, and watching how team members work together.

It’s super important to make sure every team member feels like they’re a part of the project’s success. When this is done right, the team will:

  • Work together and share responsibilities.
  • Perform at their best.


Development Approach & Life Cycle

Think of this domain as the blueprint of your project. It helps you decide how to build your project. Some projects mix different methods, but how do you choose the best parts for yours? How do you organize everything for the best results?

The PMI doesn’t say one method is better than another. Every project is unique and needs to be shaped based on its specifics. Before you start, you should really think about what you hope to achieve.

By understanding this domain, you can pick the best method and pace for your project. This ensures you provide value to everyone involved. Depending on the project’s needs, you might use a fixed, flexible, or mixed method. Your project’s outcomes and the method you choose will influence how and when you deliver results.



Planning is like setting up a game plan for your project. The details of this plan depend on what you’re creating, how you’re doing it, where you’re doing it, and who’s involved.

You plan both before and as the project goes on. Good planning means:

  • The project moves forward smoothly.
  • Everyone knows what they need to achieve.
  • The plan stays true to the project’s initial goals.
  • You spend the right amount of time planning.
  • Everyone involved gets the information they need. Remember, great planning is key to a successful project, covering everything from tasks and timeline to budget.


Project Work

This area is all about doing the work and learning along the way.

It involves managing resources and making sure everyone’s learning and improving. This includes talking to everyone involved, managing resources, buying what’s needed, and ensuring everything runs without a hitch.

What do you gain from this stage?

  • The project runs smoothly and effectively.
  • Processes fit the project and its surroundings.
  • Everyone stays informed.
  • Resources are used wisely.
  • The team gets better over time by learning and improving. During this stage, the team regularly checks how things are going. They look at what can be done better next time. By doing this, the team can find new and improved ways to work. This involves sharing knowledge and learning from past experiences.


This is all about finishing the project correctly. It focuses on getting the job done while staying true to what was planned, especially in terms of quality.

When we talk about the release performance domain, we mean everything that’s involved in giving the finished product to the world. Even after the project ends, the work done continues to be valuable for the business.



This involves checking how well the project is doing and making any needed changes. When done right, this leads to:

  • A clear view of where the project stands.
  • Trustworthy information to help make decisions.
  • Quick, suitable adjustments to ensure the project stays on track.
  • Reaching goals and providing value by making informed choices using trustworthy predictions.


Uncertainty and Ambiguity

This is all about handling the unexpected.

Every project will face surprises. It’s just a fact. And you need to be ready for them. That’s where project risk management comes in – it gets you prepared for the unexpected.

But remember, risks can be challenges or chances. The goal is to handle them in a way that benefits the project. Being proactive is key.

Projects that are flexible or a mix of different methods usually have more unknowns. They can be complicated and full of surprises. These can come from many places: maybe the project is unique, or the company hasn’t done something like this before, or there’s new tech involved. This domain focuses on understanding these unknowns.

For success, the team needs clear and correct information to make changes and meet the initial performance goals.



To put it simply, performance domains cover the important areas project leaders and teams should pay attention to from the start to the end of a project. While this might seem similar to the older “knowledge domains” approach, there’s a key difference.

While knowledge domains were more about what a project manager needed to know, performance domains emphasized areas we should concentrate on, not just know about.

Each project will have its unique way of connecting these domains, but they’re always present. The exact tasks in these domains change based on factors like the company, the project’s goals, the team, and the people involved.


Related Posts

project lifecycle
Project Lifecycle: Planning - Part 1
Many professionals agree that, planning is the most important part in a project lifecycle. In fact, in practice, 30-40% of project duration is spent on the project planning.
project management essentials
What is a Project? The 6 key attributes
Begins with a simple question. This may seem like a straightforward question, but the answer forms the foundation of one of the most
project management professional
The 5 Process Groups of Project Management
Project management is a complex field, and its success depends on managing different project stages effectively.